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'Stop leaving socks on the beach' National Trust warns Harry Potter fans over tribute to slain Dobby the house elf
2 November 2022, 12:07 | Updated: 2 November 2022, 13:06
Harry Potter fans have been told to stop leaving socks and rocks dedicated to Dobby the house-elf at the site where the fictional character dies.
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The beloved magical being's death and burial was filmed at Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows two-part films.
But the National Trust warned that fans' tributes could put wildlife at risk at the protected site and has asked for them to refrain from honouring the elf and instead stick to taking photos.
The trust, which manages the beach, launched a public consultation over whether a grave for Dobby should be removed.
It has decided it can stay "for people to enjoy" in the immediate future but warned: "The trust is asking visitors to only take photo.
"Items like socks, trinkets, and paint chips from painted pebbles could enter the marine environment and food chain and put wildlife at risk."
In the Harry Potter stories, house elves, which often are effectively slaves, can be freed when they are given a sock.
That has led to fans leaving socks there, along with coloured pebbles and other memorials.
A tribute in the shape of a cross dedicated to Dobby, who is initially introduced in the saga as the house-elf of the cruel Malfoy family, has also been left there.
The memorials have been cleared away but fans return with tributes.
Dobby is killed by a knife thrown by Bellatrix Lestrange, played by Helena Bonham Carter in the film series.
The area, which is a protected conservation site, holds wildlife like seals, porpoises, lizards and rare ground-nesting birds.
Jonathan Hughes, the assistant director of operations in south Wales for the National Trust, said: "Freshwater West is a much-loved coastal site and over time, its beauty, expansive beach, good surf and Hollywood filming credentials have seen it become increasingly popular."